Close
You have no items in your shopping cart.
Search
Filters
RSS

Blog

September Is a Great Month to Show Your Support
September Is a Great Month to Show Your Support



Join us in recognizing Sickle Cell Awareness Month 

Tessa Anderson understands what it is like to have 2 of her beloved family members fighting every day to stay healthy.  Tessa, who works in our accounting office in Lake Charles, LA, has dedicated much of her free time and energy to working with Sickle Cell support groups and fundraising events.  Many of Tessa's co-workers have also supported her efforts by participating in Hydration Campaigns and Walk/Run events. 

In a previous article, Tessa shared that “every now and then I get a little weak, and I get upset because I feel like we are battling it by ourselves.  It’s exciting to work for a company that does a lot for so many different causes… It makes the battle a little easier.”   

Quick Facts about Sickle Cell Disease from the CDC 

  • According to the CDC, Sickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited blood disorders 
  • Healthy red blood cells are round and move through blood vessels carrying oxygen throughout the body 
  • In Sickle Cell Disease, the red blood cells become hard and stick and C-shaped like a ‘sickle’ 
  • Sickle cells may stick in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen 
  • Sickle cell blockages cause repeated episodes of pain, organ damage, infections and even strokes 

Sickle Cell is a painful genetic blood disorder impacting more than 100,000 people in the United States. With 2.5 million carrying the trait, it is the most inherited blood disorder in America.   

Learn more about Sickle Cell Awareness Month and how you can support Tessa and other families affected by Sickle Cell Disease in your community by checking out these organizations:  

Louisiana
Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana | (scasl.org) 

Texas
Home - Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation (sicklecelltx.org) 

Home | Houston Sickle Cell (sicklecellhouston.org) 

About Home Furniture Plus Bedding: Home Furniture Plus Bedding is a furniture and mattress retail company that provides employment and career opportunities to over 300 dedicated employees. With 8 locations across the Gulf Coast (Baton Rouge LA, Lafayette LA, New Iberia LA, Lake Charles LA, Nederland TX and Beaumont TX), Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Distribution Center and Main Office is in Lafayette LA.

 

Home Gives Hope to St. Jude
Home Gives Hope to St. Jude


Updated June 30, 2022

Home Furniture Continues to Give Hope to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 

“Thank you to everyone who put thought, energy, and creativity into this campaign! And thanks to everyone who donated! Your efforts will be a blessing to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital! from Jill Mills, Accounting & Home Furniture Outreach Coordinator.  

When April rolls around Jill Mills and her fellow employees at Home Furniture Plus Bedding kick off their annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraising campaign.  This year the employees really rocked the effort by making one of the largest donations in the events history.  Each of the 8 store’s employees gave a tremendous effort and encouraged their customers, friends and families from Beaumont, Texas to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to join them in giving hope to the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

These are just a few quick facts about the incredible work that St Jude does: 

  • Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened in 1962 
  • St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes 
  • Every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use the knowledge to save thousands more children 
  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food  
  • St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases 
  • St Jude creates more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital and turns laboratory discoveries into lifesaving treatments that benefit patients 

Over the last 6 years, a total of $172,570.28 has been donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital from customers, employees and company matches as part of Home Furniture’s annual fundraising campaign. On June 26, 2022, Madelyn Murphy, Development Specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and a team from Home Furniture Plus Bedding participated in a virtual check presentation. The 2022 total donated was $40,007.16.

Employees of Home Furniture Plus Bedding have once again committed to supporting the incredible work performed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

If you are interested in joining Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s efforts, visit any one of the 8 locations located in Lafayette LA, Baton Rouge LA, New Iberia LA, Lake Charles LA, Nederland TX and Beaumont TX.

#WeAreHomeFurniture, #StJude, #HomeGivesHope 

 

Home Furniture Plus Bedding Celebrates Exceptional Sales Performances for 2021
Home Furniture Plus Bedding Celebrates Exceptional Sales Performances for 2021



Each year an elite group of our sales associates at Home Furniture Plus Bedding earn a place in the Top 15 at the annual President’s Club Banquet. Our 2021 President’s Club recipients are recognized for achieving the highest levels of sales excellence across multiple categories. The 2021 banquet was recently held in Lafayette, Louisiana with an evening of celebration and recognition for the exceptional work our members performed. Each of our 8 stores' top performers were also recognized.  

The 2021 President’s Club winners are as follows (rankings reflect position earned out of a total of 68 associates):

Jacob Ross, Lake Charles, Ranked #1 in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Lake Charles

Jay Moon, Lake Charles, Ranked 2nd in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

Paul D Le, New Iberia, Ranked 3rd in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for New Iberia Location

Hannah Albers, Lake Charles, Ranked 4th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Sales Volume for All Locations

Blake Welch, Lake Charles, Ranked 5th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

Sharon Ford, Lake Charles, Ranked 6th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

David Burge, Lake Charles, Ranked 7th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

Burke Eastin, Lafayette, Ranked 8th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Johnston Street Location

Darren Spell, Lafayette, Ranked 9th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Surrey Street Location

Adele Dearing, Lake Charles, Ranked 10th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

Beau DeRouen, New Iberia, Ranked 11th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

Carl Hudson, Baton Rouge, Ranked 12th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Airline Hwy Location

Lisa A Brittain, Nederland, Ranked 13th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Nederland Location

Lane T Cortez, Lafayette, Ranked 14th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance

John Truong, Beaumont, Ranked 15th in Home Furniture Plus Bedding’s Overall Sales Performance and Top Overall Sales Performance for Beaumont Location

Kevin O’Connor, Baton Rouge, Top Overall Sales Performance for Julia Aubin Location

Home Furniture Plus Bedding was founded in 1945 by George P. Fleming in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Several years later, Mr. Fleming's son, George E. (Ged) Fleming, joined his father's company. The young entrepreneur would soon spread his wings even further and opened his first Home Furniture store in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1972.  Ged Fleming would go on to open several more retail locations in the Lafayette area before eventually expanding his scope to Texas in 1996 with a store in Beaumont. Home Furniture Plus Bedding has expanded in incredible ways over the years. The heart of the company, however, remains with the customer. All members of our staff, from sales associates who work at our retail locations to those who work in our distribution center in Lafayette, are committed to providing you with quality furniture and exceptional service. 

Home Furniture is a Furniture Today's Top 100 Furniture Company in America for the past 15 years.  Shop, save and become part of the ever-growing family of satisfied customers at any of our Home Furniture Plus Bedding locations in Baton Rouge LA, Lafayette LA, New Iberia LA, Lake Charles LA, Nederland TX, or Beaumont TX.  Welcome home!

Home Furniture Helps Future Business Grads Through Ged Fleming Endowment at UL
Home Furniture Helps Future Business Grads Through Ged Fleming Endowment at UL

Home Furniture Plus Bedding Creates the George E. “Ged” Fleming Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Business

The George E. Fleming Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette grows to over $250,000 as of June 2021.

Home Furniture Plus Bedding's partnership with the University of Louisiana has allowed us to successfully memorialize Ged and carry on his legacy of success. Ged believed in the value of education and its ability to change lives forever. 

A recent recipient of UL's endowed scholarships shared the impact of the scholarships by stating: "I may never have the opporttunityto meet the donors who funded the schloarships I have received...And no matter where I go in life, I'll be walking - Together - alongside them, and I am proud to carry their legacy."

Updated 12/20/2021


“We thought it would be a wonderful way to remember him, as a local business man and supporter of education,” says Craig Holston, the HR & Safety Manager out of the Home Furniture Lafayette office.

Ged Fleming established the first Home Furniture store in Lafayette in 1972. His father had opened up the first store in Lake Charles back in 1945. Over the course of 40 years, he purchased his father’s original business and successfully expanded Home Furniture Company to eight retail stores located along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast.

According to his employees and friends, Ged always held a deep and heartfelt gratitude to the 300+ employees of Home Furniture. He appreciated their hard work, sacrifices, and dedication that ultimately led to the success of his company.  As of 2019, Home Furniture Company was recognized as a “TOP 100” furniture retailer nationally by the respected trade publication Furniture for the 13th consecutive year. Ged died unexpectedly in 2012, but his wife, Karol, and his devoted employees became inspired to make his legacy live on through an endowment scholarship fund at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“We opened the endowment up to the employees and friends to participate, and the response was overwhelming.” says Holston.

Together they created a permanent scholarship named the George E. “Ged” Fleming Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Business from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Although he was unable to achieve his college degree himself, Holston says, Ged greatly appreciated the value of education and its ability to change lives forever. 

“We funded the scholarship, and it continues to grow year after year. Actually, people can donate a percentage of their pay checks to the endowment to keep it growing, and they do.”

This endowment recently eclipsed the $150,000.00 mark and continues to grow thanks to contributions from the many employees, friends and business associates of Ged and Home Furniture Company. Junior and Senior students in UL’s B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible to apply.  Coupled with a non-endowed version of the scholarship, awards commenced with the spring 2014 semester and are granted yearly.

If you’d like to learn more about the George E. “Ged” Fleming Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, please call 337-291-7900.


The Home Team Helps "Pack the Tent"
The Home Team Helps "Pack the Tent"
KPLC’s annual “Pack the Tent” event is one of our recent community outreach initiatives that raised enough funds and food donations to feed the needy in our Lake Charles area for an entire year.
Jill Mills - Employee Spotlight November 2021
Jill Mills - Employee Spotlight November 2021

Jill’s Journey at Home Furniture Plus Bedding:

“I began my journey with Home Furniture as an intern in 1996 upon recommendation by one of my professors. Shortly after graduating from McNeese State University, I became full-time at the Lake Charles accounting office, and I’ve been with the company for over 20 years now. I’ve met some amazing co-workers over the years that have become a second family to me!”

What do you like best about your job?

“The thing I appreciate the most is working for Home Furniture, and I appreciate the flexibility that the company offers with an emphasis on work and life balance. I love doing accounting, and coordinating and organizing goodwill events, such as the Give Thanks, Give Hope campaign for St. Jude each year. I’ve been doing this since 2017. The company makes a considerable effort to keep the outreach local and personal, making the experience meaningful for the connection between the community and our Home Furniture employees.

Lori Berwick, Home Furniture CFO, adds, “Jill is a tremendous asset to our accounting department and our company. I’m so glad she is a part of the Home Furniture team.”

When Jill is not at work:

“I enjoy spending time outdoors, reading and traveling. And my family really loves the Houston Astros!”

The ONE thing most co-workers may not know:

“I’ve been on mission trips to Colombia and Nicaragua, where I taught conversational English. Also, my kids and I were extras in a movie filmed in Lafayette, LA, but only my son Aaron’s part made the final cut! Oh, and I am a huge Investigative Discovery Channel and Jeopardy Junkie!”

Advice for anyone wishing to join our Home Furniture Team:

“Home Furniture certainly has a great family atmosphere. The company is very supportive of those who work hard and who are team players.”

Originally from Moss Bluff, LA, Jill and Jason, her husband of 15 years, currently reside in Katy, TX, with their two children, Aaron (13) and Alayna (11), and the family dog, Scout.

Home Furniture Continues Strong Support of St. Jude
Home Furniture Continues Strong Support of St. Jude
St Jude Children's Hospital is embraced by Home Furniture Plus Bedding and it's employees. Jill Mills, who manages Community Outreach for Home Furniture, organized the campaign to bring more awareness to the cause and show their support.
Home Furniture Plus Bedding is Open
Home Furniture Plus Bedding is Open

We are thrilled to announce that Home Furniture Plus Bedding is open and ready to serve all of your home decorating needs! While we attend to helping you find a sofa that fits your every need or an accent piece to give your home that extra special something, we want to ensure that you, our valued customer, as well as our staff, are safe throughout your shopping experience. Allow us to tell you the steps we’re taking to comply with CDC guidelines.

Here are some guidelines for both shoppers and staff as we navigate this new normal:

● Employees must wear masks and must not report to work if they have a fever or symptoms.

● Customers must also not have symptoms and must maintain the six feet distancing mandate.

● A maximum of 25% of a building's occupancy can only be allowed in any establishment at a given time.


Aside from following CDC guidelines, we’ll be taking extra steps to sanitize our stores and follow our Cleaning Checklist:

● Clean commonly used spaces and equipment often including telephones, keyboards, counters, tablets, light switches, and door handles.

● Sanitize restrooms and breakrooms frequently and restock with supplies including soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.


East Texas and Louisiana Can Shop Safe with Home Furniture Plus Bedding

We can’t wait to help you find the perfect furniture and mattresses for your home – and make sure we keep you safe in the process. Visit one of our eight locations across East Texas and Louisiana today!

With the Help of a Once Homeless Man, Home Furniture Collects Backpacks for Homeless
With the Help of a Once Homeless Man, Home Furniture Collects Backpacks for Homeless

Home Furniture’s Beaumont location was brimming in backpacks. But not just any backpacks; these bags have a special destination: the homeless population in southeast Texas.

 

These bags were collected in conjunction with Eric Ardoin’s Warm Hands, Warms Hearts organization. Ardoin knows what people face out on the streets. He was once homeless himself. He is a recovering addict who now builds homes and looks after his fellow man.

 

Once the folks at the Beaumont location of Home Furniture heard his story, they wanted to pitch in. Their staff collected supplies and backpacks to donate to Warm Hands, Warm Hearts. Paula, Christy, Gay Lynn, and Jordan spearheaded the effort. Together they collected items like tents, sleeping bags and, of course, backpacks filled with supplies.

 

With the help of businesses like Home Furniture, Ardoin is able to visit the numerous homeless camps throughout Beaumont and deliver the items to the people in need.

 

Ardoin is encouraging Southeast Texans to help him on his mission. If you would like to donate items, you can call Ardoin at (409) 499-7791 or just drop tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, coats, gloves or toiletries to Ardoin's house at 2655 Harrison Street in Beaumont's Old Town.
Home Furniture Supports March of Dimes and Donates Thousands to Help Premature Babies
Home Furniture Supports March of Dimes and Donates Thousands to Help Premature Babies

“It was five weeks before delivery, and they were like, ‘We have to deliver now.’ When she came out, of course she was little, she was 4lb, 6oz.”

 

Tammy Louis, a cashier at the Baton Rouge Home Furniture Plus Bedding location, has firsthand experience with March of Dimes. When her daughter was born prematurely, she wanted to give back to the organization that supported her during those first scary moments.

 

“As they started to assess her and tried to feed her, she wouldn’t take the bottle. They had to rush her to the NICU.”

 

Louis says March of Dimes was there for her family. The organization advocates for policies to protect mothers and premature babies. They have pioneered research to find solutions and empower families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies.

 

“March of Dimes is willing to help and donate to the NICU,” explains Louis. “Being a part of Home Furniture, I think it is very important that we donate to March of Dimes.”

 

In March of 2016, employees, customers and the company itself donated over $5,000 to support premature babies and their families. For 80 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of babies survive and thrive. The organization works to level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics.

 

“It helps out parents such as myself who have gone through a lot more than I have. It helps them with the process of their babies being in the NICU,” says Louis.
Home Furniture Distribution Center Employee Finds a New Hobby Running Marathons
Home Furniture Distribution Center Employee Finds a New Hobby Running Marathons

“My son is a runner, and he said ‘Dad you should do this too’ and I did. I’ve run two so far. It’s a lot of training, but I enjoy it.”

 

Al Ryder’s most recent marathon was in Mount Airy, North Carolina in the Mayberry Half-Marathon. Running is a hobby the distribution center employee recently picked up. It’s allowed him to travel to North Carolina, but the former Marine has worked his way around the world.

 

“I joined the Marines Corp in 1969,” says Al, “I guess I was stationed in about 10 places.”

 

He added that Japan and Norway were two of his favorite stops, “The Northern lights are real pretty, but it’s a lot of snow.”

 

He was eventually sent to New Orleans, as a helicopter crew chief, and from there he moved to Lafayette. The Monroe native, who achieved a Sergeant Major rank, was happy to be back in his home state.

 

“I lived all over the world, did all kinds of neat stuff, and I retired in1994,” says Al.

 

Al has been with Home Furniture for 12 years and jokes he actually came with the warehouse that is now the Distribution Center.

 

“Well I was working at the Auto Zone Distribution Center when it was sold to Home Furniture. I was helping close things up and they asked if I wanted to stay on. They joke a lot of times that I came with the building. I mean that was the greatest thing that could have happened to me.”

 

He says working for the company is wonderful. He likes how involved they are in the community, and loves what he gets to tackle day to day.

 

“Every day is something different. It’s really busy, and I do a variety of things. I take care of all the power industrial equipment, whatever it takes to keep us going,” explains Al.

 

Together he and his wife of 49 years, Phyllis, have 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter that is now deceased and 6 grandchildren. 
Home Furniture Hosts Hydration Campaign to Help Sickle Cell Anemia Patients
Home Furniture Hosts Hydration Campaign to Help Sickle Cell Anemia Patients

“Growing up I couldn’t do a lot of what other kids could, like play sports. I wanted to play basketball, but I couldn’t because my mom was afraid of what would happen in the process.”

Jacorion Anderson is the son of Tessa Anderson, who works in the accounting office for Home Furniture. He is also a Sickle Cell Anemia patient. Sickle Cell Anemia is a blood cell disorder and is incurable. His brother, Zhaire, also suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia - two teenagers in one family fighting every day to stay healthy.

“Every now and then I get a little weak,and I get upset because I feel like we are battling it by ourselves,” says Tessa. “It’s exciting to work for a company that does a lot for so many different causes, but to be a part of and be experiencing this particular cause and to have my Home Furniture family support me in that feels really good. It makes the battle a little bit easier.”

Tessa reached out to her Home Furniture family about the struggles all Sickle Cell patients face, especially with hydration. She mentioned her support group hosts water and Powerade drives because “it is imperative that those with the disease stay hydrated and their electrolytes be replenished.”

“If you’re outside and can’t get to water, you could pass out and probably not wake up,” says Jacorion.

After receiving the letter from Tessa, Home Furniture sprang into action. The company decided to do a hydration campaign to offer support.

“We try to do campaigns that have a personal connection to our employees.  We want them to know that HFC cares about them personally and professionally,” says Jill Mills, Home Furniture’s Community Project Organizer.

The Anderson family certainly felt the support. They had already been through so much including a stroke, surgery, and multiple blood transfusions, all in order to stay ahead of the disease.

“I would like to say thank you for all of your support in helping us fight this battle,” said Jacorion.

Home Furniture Supports Flood and Hurricane Victims
Home Furniture Supports Flood and Hurricane Victims

Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Texas Coast, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in parts of the Houston area. Thousands were flooded out of their homes and more than 80 people were killed.  The devastation in August of 2017 was swift, and the recovery is still ongoing a year later.

As of last month, 15 percent of homes damaged or destroyed by the storm are still unlivable. People lost everything, including beds and furniture. That’s where Home Furniture stepped in. The company and its Texas-based employees managed to donate $100,000 in mattresses so the victims could start rebuilding their lives.

They also provided cleaning supplies and other essentials to fellow employees who had flood damage.

Home Furniture joined companies around the country in offering funds, goods, and their own employees and offices to help with disaster relief. Corporate donations surpassed $200 million as the business community came together in support.

Home Furniture is no stranger to helping flood victims. Just the year before in August of 2016, much of Louisiana was under water.  Historic floods devastated parts of south Louisiana after a slow-moving system dumped more than 20 inches of rain from Baton Rouge to Acadiana.

East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes saw the most widespread flooding. In all, it's estimated that 50,000 to 75,000 structures flooded, according to the National Weather Service, and 13 people died in the flood.

During that disaster, Home Furniture donated supplies and essentials to employees facing the brunt of the storm. They then donated $100,000 worth of mattresses to those in need.

The company chooses projects that impact the entire community they serve. With the support of their employees, they are truly making a difference.

Home Furniture: The Story of Our Culture
Home Furniture: The Story of Our Culture

“We put the customer and our employees first, that’s how it’s always been.” – Larry Dominque, Beaumont Home Furniture location.

 

Larry Domingue has been with Home Furniture for 23 years, so he knows what he’s talking about. He describes a culture that centers around service, and family, and a true commitment to each other and to the customer. Everything thing else springs from there.

 

“I did an employee walk-through not that long ago, and one of the people couldn’t believe our CEO was down here in the warehouse just talking and checking things out. They were blown away,” says Larry.

 

Most people are blown away when they see for themselves the company culture at Home Furniture. People describe it as “the greatest company to work for” and that there really is “an open-door policy,” from the people at the top on down.

 

One sales associate in the New Iberia location says he is constantly impressed with how the mangers back up promises made to the customers. The emphasis is always on how they can improve the furniture buying and owning experience for the people spending their hard-earned cash in one of their stores.

 

“We really want to build our employees so they can take care of the customer,” explains Larry.

 

He went on to say they focus on their people, even if it means they may spread their wings one day and fly off to another job at another company. While they’re here they’re number one.

 

“We have people that come back and thank us for the atmosphere and how we gave them a start. College kids that started in the warehouse want to come back after a few years and shake your hand.”

 

That type of attitude is unique to find in a company as large as Home Furniture. Home Furniture has six stores throughout South Louisiana and two in Texas. What could become cumbersome for a company their size is second nature to Home Furniture.

 

They Treat everyone well from the warehouse worker to the sales associate to the customer emulating a true sense of duty to each other and everyone who walks through the door. The rewards run deep when everyone is family.

Home Furniture Manager Running in St. Jude Marathon
Home Furniture Manager Running in St. Jude Marathon

December 1st will be a big day for Drake Hulin and for Home Furniture. The Distribution Center Receiving Manager will be running in the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. It’s a huge undertaking, but Drake has found ample support among his Home Furniture family.

“The marathon actually falls at a busy time of year for us,” explains Drake. “But when I told them what I wanted to do, they told me not to worry about it. They want me to run, and every manager has been very supportive.”

St. Jude is a cause close to many hearts in the Home Furniture family. In the past two years the company has donated nearly $40,000 to the cause. Home Furniture has participated in “Give Thanks, Give Hope” campaign for St. Jude since 2017, so it seemed only natural to support one of their own while he worked to meet his marathon goal.

“I’ve had so many fellow employees come talk to me about it. It’s so awesome to have their support,” says Drake. “They want to know how my training is coming along; it’s been great.”

Drake has been running for the past 3 years, mostly 5Ks, 10Ks, and a half-marathon, but the St. Jude Marathon will be his first full marathon. He’s been training every day before and after work. Working in a warehouse in the Louisiana heat hasn’t kept him from his goal. Drake thinks the marathon will be a challenge, but one he’s been looking forward to for a long time.

“The marathon route actually goes in front of the St. Jude Hospital,” explains Drake. “They actually let the kids that are able to go outside come and cheer you on. I’m looking forward to that for sure.”

His wife and two children will also be present to cheer him on. He says his family is thrilled he’s decided to take up this challenge for such a special cause. The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is the single largest one-day fundraising event for St. Jude. The fundraising efforts of runners like Drake will help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

“I don’t have a direct personal connection to St. Jude, but it’s just such a fantastic cause. This seemed like the perfect place to compete in a marathon.”

Drake will have the full support of his family at home, his family at work, and the community of St. Jude when he starts the marathon on the December 1st. There is no doubt they will all be cheering when he crosses the finish line.

Home Furniture’s Baton Rouge Location Inspires with Coats for Kids
Home Furniture’s Baton Rouge Location Inspires with Coats for Kids

Home Furniture is focused on continued community support for all of its locations. The greater Baton Rouge area is no exception. Throughout each year, employees donate their time and money to Pat's Coats for Kids and are proud to be a sponsor.

“This is something we gladly do every year,” says Larry Williams, manager of the Home Furniture location in Baton Rouge. “We’ve been involved for over a decade and always give a monetary donation.”

For every $20 donated, a new, high-quality coat is provided for a child in need in the capital area. It’s all part of the Pat’s Coats for Kids drive which buys coats for kids in parishes including Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, as well as Charter Schools of Baton Rouge.

WBRZ is hosting the annual Pat’s Coats for Kids coat drive now through Wednesday, November 21, 2018.

“We appear on WBRZ to present our check and try to inspire other businesses to do the same,” says Larry.

For the past 30 years, Pat’s Coats for Kids and the Baton Rouge community have distributed more than 250,000 coats to meet the challenge of keeping the children in our area warm during cold winter months.

Larry says it’s not just the Baton Rouge business community that can help, everyone is welcome to donate. For more information on drop off locations, follow this link.

Home Furniture Manager from Lake Charles Back from Haiti and Planning Another Mission Trip
Home Furniture Manager from Lake Charles Back from Haiti and Planning Another Mission Trip

“They are no different. God planted my soul in my mom and I was born here in the land of privilege. God planted their soul over there, that’s where they live and that’s what they know. We are just so fortunate, but they are no different from us.”

Lori Berwick left for Haiti on October 12, and spent a week with other people from Louisiana hoping to make a difference in the Port Au Prince region. She was part of a group traveling with Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home. This was her second trip to Haiti, her first was a mission trip in 2017.

“I was on the medical team this time, I took vital signs then passed them off to the doctor. Then after they saw the doctor we’d see to it they got vitamins and any medication they need,” she said.

There was a special woman that stuck out to her on this trip. A new mother who came in with her 22-day old baby. The woman was very ill and the child was only 5lbs, but Lori, her team, and charitable Haitians were able to get the new mother the help she needed.

“She came in and could barely walk, it was decided she needed to go to the hospital. We took up a donation from all of the people there so we could get her taken to a hospital,” said Lori. “We were told after the fact that if she had not gone to the hospital that day she would not have survived much longer.”

They were able to check on her the next day and the woman was much improved. A highlight of the 2017 trip turned out to also be a highlight of this experience. Louisiana Reach Haiti has been working for quite some time to build an orphanage. They’ve been fundraising for a while. Last year there was only a wall around the property and a well. This year Lori got to be there for the opening celebration.

“We got to be there for the ribbon cutting, that was really neat,” Lori explained. “One of the members on our team was very excited because it had an indoor bathroom and most orphanages there do not have indoor bathrooms.”

She said the ceremony was touching and they’ve already started housing children. Lori explained that if you want to donate you can go to the Louisiana Reach Haiti website.

“Before the ceremony it wasn’t raining or anything, yet there was a rainbow.”

 Lori said the children were grateful and excited for their new home. She even got to see a familiar face from her mission work last year.

“Kwisno was there, I could see the recognition in his face and we held each other’s hands. But he’s 14 now, and the people over there are just people like us, so 14-year-olds over there are also too cool to get too excited.”

Lori manages the accounting department at the Home Furniture location in Lake Charles and has been with the company for 24 years. She says her coworkers have been incredibly supportive of her mission work, and will continue to support her when she leaves for Haiti again next year. She’s planning to go on a third mission trip to the area in October of 2019.

Home Furniture Manager from Lake Charles Heading Back to Haiti on a Mission Trip
Home Furniture Manager from Lake Charles Heading Back to Haiti on a Mission Trip
“I’ve always wanted to do mission work, this will be my second trip, I’m looking forward to going back.”

Lori Berwick left for Haiti on October 12. Going with a group from the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home from Louisiana, she’s hoping to make a difference in the Port Au Prince region. She is part of a group traveling with Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home.

“Last year I was on the Vacation Bible School Team,” explains Lori. “We saw 200 kids a day. We’d color with them and play, tell them Bible stories. It was really something to see. It was a lot of fun.”

Lori works at the Home Furniture office in Lake Charles, where she manages the accounting department. She has been with the company for 24 years and says her coworkers have been incredibly supportive of her mission work.

“It’s a great place to work,” she says. “Next week is actually Boss’s Day, but I’ll be in Haiti so they gave me a gift early. They gave me a bunch of snacks to take on my trip.”

Lori says her work family and her family at home have been supportive of her since she first made a trip to Haiti last year. As a mother and grandmother, it is the Haitian children that made the most impression on her as she recalls her trip from 2017.

“We went to an orphanage, and every child just wants to have someone to hold. I was the last one to get off the van and I remember one little girl standing there waiting. She was so happy to see me. She was so excited that there was one person left on the van - that she would have someone - she grabbed my hand right away.”

Lori says she’s really looking forward to one event in particular this year.

“There’s one group, Louisiana Reach Haiti, and last year they bought the land for an orphanage. They’ve been fundraising for a while. Last year there was only a wall around the property and a well. This year we’ll get to see part of the complex set up, they are ready to start housing children.”

Lori explained that donations can be made at the Louisiana Reach Haiti website and when the page opens, her little friend from last year is featured.

“The boy smiling in the pink and white shirt, with the thumbs up, I met him last year, that Dusty! It would be wonderful to see him again.”

She’s not sure which team she’ll be on this year, but she is looking forward to the trip with the same anticipation and excitement from a year ago. It’s a week-long trip that will undoubtably make a difference in so many lives.